The Latest Military Engine



CATAPULT, n. A military engine used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for throwing stones, darts and arrows upon an enemy. Some of these would throw a stone of a hundred pounds weight. Webster’s 1828


Jameson’s copy of Backyard Ballistics has become an indispensable tool and has inspired an endless list of Junior Workshop creations.

Our New Oval Serving Tray

Look what I found inside this 8/4 slab of Cherry . . .


. . . this lovely oval Serving Tray.


We are ready to offer our new oval Serving Tray for purchase through our website.  Look for it to be released next week.

Exploratory Journey – Looking for Our New Home

It is good to be back home. We just spent a little over a month exploring portions of Southern Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia . . . in search of our new home in the country. We just covered 7,591.9 miles.


Although the trip was primarily to learn more about a handful of states as we consider our future home, we did take the time to make a few stops along the way and create some wonderful memories.

The Meteor Crater in Winslow, Arizona was one of our first stops.


The children faithfully did their lessons while we traveled. Cody always wanted to be part of everything. Actually, he had no choice. They all shared the backseat.



Our first two nights were spent at rest areas along the way. We spent our third night at the Ladybug Campground in Cuba, Missouri. It is a beautiful campground.


We pulled into Bloomington, Indiana excited about spending some time with our dear friends, the Phillips, at Liberty Pastures. The Phillips’ hospitality was a true blessing.


Jim enjoyed spending time with Jake’s Deere.


Much of our trip was spent driving (and driving) around to learn more about different areas and to see some properties. Allison and Jameson were patient travelers; Cody did great, too.


After a week at Liberty Pastures, we headed south to research the southernmost portion of Indiana. A few days later we crossed the Ohio and camped at Indian Springs RV Park in South Bend, Ohio. This lovely place was our home-base for our two-day visit to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.


We had long dreamed of visiting the Creation Museum. This was a memorable treat for our family.




The Gardens outside the Museum are peaceful and lovely.


Gomer (the Camel) was surprisingly soft. Ever pet a Camel?


Every moment at the Museum was a blessing, but we especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet Buddy Davis; speaker, author, illustrator, singer/songwriter, adventurer, and dinosaur sculptor. We also had the pleasure of meeting Buddy’s lovely wife, Kay.


Jameson quickly learned that whenever he opened his window on the drive to enjoy the outdoors, Cody would inevitably come over and stand on his lap and enjoy the great outdoors, as well.


We spent several days driving throughout Kentucky from our home-bases in Taylorsville and Lexington. Later, we went south to visit with a friend, Rick Eldridge of The Wood Shop in Middlesboro, Kentucky. We absolutely enjoyed our tour of Rick’s shop.

While visiting Southeastern Kentucky and Tennessee, we camped at The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. What a beautiful place. We hope to spend more time at The Cumberland Gap in the future.



We had a couple of (all too brief) visits with The Tennessee Farmgirl, Cheri Shelnutt, and her sons. We left a piece of our hearts in Tennessee.


Our next home-base was at Lakeview RV Park in Bluff City, Tennessee. From here we covered portions of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Absolutely lovely! An additional highlight of beautiful Virginia was our memorable visit to St. Peter Presbyterian Church in Mendota. We were warmly welcomed by all. We also had the pleasure of hearing Dr. RC Sproul Jr. preach.


After several weeks of research, it was time to head west. We stopped in Castle Rock, Colorado for a delightful visit with our dear friends, the Clapp Family. We enjoy every moment we spend with the Clapps. They do not know it yet, but they will be moving to wherever we settle.




We have a lot to pray about. We have been planning and praying about this move for 2 1/2 years. Our California home goes on the market this Friday. We still do not know to where we will move or what the Lord has in store, but we are so excited about this season in our lives.


Jim & Rebecca
The van Vegten Family

Simple Separate Deliberate Kingdom


This is a favorite – This piece was a surprise gift from a loving wife to her dear husband for their Wedding Anniversary. The text on this Wall Art is rooted in one of our favorite ministries – Highlands Ministries.

Highlands Ministries exists to help Christians
live more simple, separate, and deliberate lives
to the glory of God and for the building of His kingdom.


We enjoyed being part of such a lovely Anniversary gift and making new friends along the way.

What would you liked carved on your inspirational Wall Art?

Jim & Rebecca

Unique Serving Tray – What Does it Symbolize?


We are so grateful to our client for this information and for her kind words.  Here is the explanation which our client provided to us about this very unique Serving Tray –

The tray is lovely and will be a unique gift for this couple. I promised to let you know the origin of the drawing, so here it is.

The couple are both from Bremen Germany, the home of the Bremen musicians which is what the four animals are stacked on top of each other. There is a children’s story about them you can look up and they are a prominent icon and statue in Bremen. We could have chosen the founder, Roulan, whose statue is nearby the musicians, but he is not anywhere as well known outside of Germany and not nearly as cute!


The Bremen musicians are on top of Table Mountain in Cape Town South Africa, where the bride’s family has roots and a home and where the couple was married during a residency for medical school for the bride in August.

On the left is one of the towers of the H. B. Plant Hotel, now the University of Tampa, in Tampa Florida, where the bride’s family also has a residence, the couple vacation here often and the bride had another medical residency here also.

So what the artist did was combine the notable features of each place in the world, which we selected, that the couple has ties to jointly.

The wood is fabulous and the translation of the sketch to the wood is very well done. I hope the couple likes it as much as everyone else!

You were very easy to work with and accommodating and responsive. Thanks for your help!

We truly want our clients to be delighted with their custom order, and to enjoy the process of bringing their design concepts to fruition.  It is always such a joy to hear from them after they’ve received their order.

Jim & Rebecca

Unique Serving Tray

We recently created a very special wood Serving Tray which is to be a wedding gift. We were asked if we could work from hand-drawn artwork and carve a Serving Tray featuring the artwork. Our client had an artist prepare a drawing incorporating some elements that were special to this particular couple. The hand-drawn artwork was then mailed to us.

  • Image of the drawing which our client provided –


  • We then scanned the artwork and imported it into our software. Per our client’s request, the image was stretched slightly to fill the Serving Tray –


  • We then carefully traced the image of the drawing line for line. These vectors are necessary in order for our CNC router to carve the image –


  • This image is a digital rendering of what was presented to our client for approval –


  • Here is the finished piece –


  • The carved image was machined 1/32″ deep. The image below reveals the detail which can be achieved –


We had a great laugh with our client when we shared with her what we thought the artwork represented. We were completely wrong. Any guesses?

Jim & Rebecca

A Piece of History

Jameson and I enjoy our trips to the lumberyard. The other day we headed south before the sun rose to pick up some more material. I had been telling my son about a huge bandsaw which is displayed in front of one of my favorite lumberyards. Words fall short in trying to express the size. Jameson was not disappointed.



Foam Sign Letters

Recently, I cut some letters out of Gatorfoam for a client.

This is an economical way to achieve a very eye catching sign for a business. Below are a few pictures of the project.

  • Here is a screen shot of the letters “nested” together to optimize the use of a rather expensive material –


  • The letters after cutting –


  • An “n” or a “u” . . . you choose –


  • Another view –


What can my robot and I cut for you?



Custom Antique Truck Parts

I just finished a rather interesting project. I was commissioned to make some wooden parts for an antique truck. My client is restoring a 1933 Dodge Pickup and is going to cut the truck in half and “stretch” it four inches. Up until the late 1930s GM used quite a bit of wood in the manufacture of their vehicles. My task was to recreate a couple of boards which would be sandwiched between the cab and frame of the truck. I was provided with the boards from another restored truck to use as patterns from which to work and given the point at which to insert the additional four inches.

Following are some images of the old and new parts.

  • My patterns from a previously restored 1933 Dodge Truck –



  • The new hard Oak pieces which are now lengthened the four inches –



  • Another angle –


  • I created some contours to conform to the shape of the frame/cab –




  • A very sweet looking truck (Note the suicide doors!) –




One-of-a-Kind Set of Furniture Legs

I have been asked to create a base for a small chest of drawers. This particular base is to have turned legs. I thought I would share the process of creating a turned piece on my CNC machine.

I use my CAD/CAM software to design and create the necessary vectors and toolpaths for machining –

I then create a 3D simulation of the piece for review –

I thought you would find it interesting to see what the toolpaths look like. This is an image of the toolpath for roughing-out the turned leg –

This image represents the toolpath for machining the leg –

Here is the toolpath for machining the flutes, something that cannot be done on a traditional lathe –

Roughed-out on the machine –

Here is a finished cabinet leg still in the machine –

Finished cabinet leg –

What can I turn for you?